Tuesday 16 November 2010

Mittellus: Religion

Some notes on the religious history of the world, Mittellus, that houses the Trossley campaign.

The Old Way has always been the way of man: gods that were their domains, harvest and springing stag, rills and mountain peaks, served by shamans, Druach votaries, goat-leapers and wind-witches. Cut down time and again by the empires of men, the ancient rites find accommodation, and spring back when empires fall. But this time, they have competition: the Church.

In the dark years after the breaking of the Millennial Empire, it was commanded that three prophets receive the Revelation that there is but one God: Odaus, the sage of the East; Invictus, the young soldier of the West; and Amalthea, aristocrat of the ravaged Millennial homelands. Spreading the word and the blessings of holy miracles, the three found each other within a decade, and the Church was formed. Then, on a mission to convert a King of the North, Odaus betrayed the Lady Amalthea to the barbarians to save his own skin, a despicable act for which his followers in the East blamed Invictus. So was born the schism of the churches, West against East, with Amalthea as martyr.

Folk-saints Phoebe and Mitras counsel King Thonar

It has been five hundred years since then. Kings and pontifices of the West have waged near-constant war, against priest-emperors of the East and eruptions of barbarians and worse from the edges of the world. Trossley sits in a landlocked area of the Northern Continent Alatoria, within the sphere of the Western Church, but here the reach of the Sacred Seat is tenuous. Mitras, Hermas, Froellia, Uncumber, Eracle and other folk-saints are much honored hereabouts. Priests are trained and knowledge concentrated in fortified phalansteries, and it seems every town of some standing is trying to build a church to rival its neighbors.

Enemies of the Church are many. The benighted Eastern followers of Odaus, even more infuriating for their claim to the true Revelation; the Anti-God or Devil known from the Revelation, a subtle fellow with many secret worshippers and guises; the Powers of Beyond, demons of utmost Chaos who enter the world through the gates of human desire; and those who cling to the Old Way, although these are the least of the Church's worries and are even somewhat tolerated in the Alatorian hinterland.

Silvanian mendicant friars
Against these stand the Church hierarchy and the holy Orders. The unforgiving black-robed followers of St. Hieracon are charged with maintaining doctrinal purity and order among the Church and her faithful. The brown-robed hermits and peaceful wanderers of St. Silvain are popular with the common folk but suspected to be soft on the Old Way. The main Militant orders are three: the Order of Valentia, the Order of the Tower, and the wandering Peregrines. Holy Sequina, the Divine Wisdom, shelters mystics and intellectuals alike in her white-robed Order.

Raise, then, the equal-armed Cross and let the banners of the Church advance! But make sure that the Cross you raise has the horizontal bar over the vertical - the Western church's Hilt of Invictus - and not the vertical over the horizontal - sign of the Devil's own heresy, the Staff of Odaus, sacred to the Anti-Church of the East.

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